Still Building from Within

21 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net and www.startribune.com/blogs/twinscentric.

Look back a decade: Torii Hunter spent a couple of seasons making people wonder about his skills before becoming a star. Look back a generation: Frank Viola spent two seasons with a five-plus ERA before blossoming. Tell me why Casilla is utterly hopeless?

Howard Sinker in his A Fan’s View blog yesterday made a tremendous point. It is important to remain patient. Of course, in Viola’s third year, he posted a 3.21 ERA over 257.2 innings. I think Alexi Casilla will be fine. I think that Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be just fine. Will either post a .730 OPS? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t fill their roles adequately. I just don’t think that offense will be the biggest issue for the Twins in 2011. Pitching, both starting and bullpen, is where there are question marks, but the cupboard is not empty.

What I would like to see is if 29-year-old Scott Baker, in his seventh season with the Twins, can hit 200 innings (or post a sub-4.20 ERA) for just the second time, and earn his $5 million salary. I’d like to see Kevin Slowey, in his fifth big league season, be 100% healthy, and see what he can do. He threw 199 innings in 2007 between Rochester and Minnesota. I’d like to see Nick Blackburn get back to going 11-11 with an ERA between 4.03 and 4.05 like he did in 2008 and 2009. As bad as portions of their 2010 seasons were, none of this is unrealistic. They have done it before. Along with that, maybe Brian Duensing can prove a lot of us wrong and put together another strong season in 2011, hopefully the full season as a starter. And, Francisco Liriano put himself back in discussion for best pitchers in the league (which is also helped by Cliff Lee moving to the NL). If healthy, he can still continue to improve.

So, if Carl Pavano leaves for greener pastures in places like Washington, D.C., or Pittsburgh, it really is not the end of the world. What are the odds that he could post a 3.75 ERA again or throw another 221 innings in a season? Not terribly good.

The Twins have a history of building from within, or giving opportunities to players who have come up through their system, and to stand behind them through struggles. We have seen it time and again. And for the most part over the last decade, it has paid off. The Twins have used free agents to complement their core of home-grown players. Last year, there wasn’t a solid internal option at second base, so they signed Orlando Hudson.

Last week, the Twins lost Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier to free agency. It is likely that they will not bring back Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch or Ron Mahay either. Fans, understandably, are up in arms about the lack of certainty in the Twins bullpen. There is no certainty that Joe Nathan will return to form in 2011. Jose Mijares is immensely talented, but he was up and down in 2010. Matt Capps is the given in the Twins bullpen, and he is what he is (a solid reliever). Beyond that, there are a lot of question marks.

Twins fans don’t want to hear about someone like Glen Perkins being a bullpen option in 2011. There are also a lot of guys with little or no big league experience being mentioned as options. I understand that is scary. We want certainty in the bullpen, right? Certainty, in this case, would have been retaining Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier because they are veterans, right? But if I read the comments here at the StarTribune.com blogs or many Twins blogs, most blog commenters were not big fans of Jesse Crain. Most blog commenters were not exactly confident when Matt Guerrier would come into games. But aside from Rafael Soriano, Brian Fuentes and Type A free agent and former Twins pitcher Grant Balfour, few relievers have been more reliable than Crain and Guerrier. And you didn’t want them back. So, who would be out there at this stage that could be counted on more? I am a proponent of signing RHP Jose Veras and LHP Hideki Okajima, but in each case, there are reasons that their 2010 team non-tendered them. Certainly not guarantees.

Simply stated, there are very few reliable relief pitchers from year to year. Most (or at least many) relief pitchers are failed starters. There are a lot of injuries. It is in the bullpen where you can find diamonds in the rough. It’s where guys (like Guerrier) who are out of options to get an opportunity, and a few take advantage of it. Look at the Yankees’ David Robertson. In 2009, he was a question mark. In 2010, he was getting put into some pretty big situations for the pinstripes.

With that said, there are a lot of options for breakout types in the Twins bullpen. Remember that they only need three or four of these guys to produce for the Twins in 2011:

  • Anthony Slama - It amazes me that many Twins fans seem to think he can’t contribute to the team. Are people really willing to say that a poor 4.2 inning debut in the big leagues tells us that he can’t pitch up there? Really? His 1.95 ERA over four minor league seasons mean nothing? His 12.5 K/9 means nothing? His 1.06 WHIP? His 2.44 ERA in one-plus seasons at AAA mean nothing? Bloggers and blog commenters have been clamoring for Slama for a few years, and now they’ll give up on him? Because of 4.2 bad innings? I think Slama can be a solid 7th inning guy.
  • Alex Burnett - he has a chance to be really good. He came up as a starter, a successful starter, but in 2009, he moved to the bullpen. Despite not pitching in AAA, and only a short time in AA, he was on teh Twins Opening Day roster and spent most of the first half with the Twins. He struggled as the season went along, but he has great stuff and will definitely be back with the Twins, eventually pitching late innings.
  • Pat Neshek - It amazes me how quickly some Twins fans turned on the sind-winding reliever. Yes, his velocity was down. I get that. But this year, he will get an actual offseason of working out and preparing, not an offseason of rehabilitation. Will he come back and be as incredible as he was in 2006 and 2007? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m willing to give him that opportunity.
  • James Hoey - Similarly, there was a lot of excitement about Hoey with the Orioles in 2006 and 2007. The righty throws hard and was generally thought to be the closer of the future with Baltimore. And then he had shoulder surgery, and he worked his way back up the ladder. His velocity is back. The strikeouts are back. He will need to cut down walks, but he is a power arm that the Twins bullpen needs.
  • Rob Delaney - Delaney was undrafted in 2006 and dominated the lower levels of the minor leagues, including AA. AAA has been more of a struggle, but consider that in 80 AAA innings, he walked just 23 and struck out 92. Sure, his one inning in the big leagues last September wasn’t pretty. He looked nervous and gave up a homer, a single and a walk before getting the three outs. But again, I’ve heard some say that he can’t handle the big leagues because of that one outing.
  • Kyle Waldrop - It surprised a lot of people that the Twins didn’t protece Waldrop after a terrific 2010 season with the Rochester Red Wings. Since returning from his shoulder surgery, he has been incredible out of the bullpen. After 20 games in Ft. Myers, he posted a 1.46 ERA in 31 New Britain games. He posted a 2.57 ERA in 2010 in Rochester, but his ERA was at ONE halfway through the 2010 season. Yes, he was not good in the Arizona Fall League, but he still has a chance to be a very good, groundball reliever.
  • Glen Perkins - A left-hander who did succeed a few years ago as a starter, he looks to be a lefty reliever in 2010. Of course, he doesn’t get left-handed batters out, so I just don’t know how he can contribute, but stranger things have happened when players get opportunities.
  • Eric Hacker, Yorman Bazardo, Jeff Manship, Anthony Swarzak, Chuck James - These guys could all get an opportunity for a long relief role. Manship filled the role toward the end of 2010 and could do so again, but the others are options.
  • Carlos Gutierrez - In a podcast just last week, Gutierrez informed me that he wants to pitch out of the bullpen, that it is where he is ‘at home.’ However, he acknowledged that spending the last couple of years as a starter has been valuable in helping him develop secondary pitches. I’m frequently asked who could be the 2011 version of Danny Valencia. Kyle Gibson certainly could come up in June and contributed as a starter. Carlos Gutierrez could come up in June and really help out the Twins bullpen.

Are any of those big name acquisitions? No. They are internal options. Can any of them contribute to the Twins in 2011? Absolutely. Can three of four of them join Nathan, Capps and Mijares to form a solid bullpen? Defintely. Am I just trying to be positive here? Probably. But can the internal choices be equal or better than the external, high-cost free agents? Absolutely.

The Twins historically have relied upon their own players, on building from within. It’s been a philosophy that has worked well for them. Even if their payroll has gone from $65 million to $100 million to $115 million, there is no reason to start spending foolishly on free agents or giving up the farm for players who might help. Can the Twins win the division with their current roster? I think so. It’d be tough, but I would not put it against them.

To be fair (and honest), I have been immensely frustrated with the Twins offseason. I expected them to wisely stay away from high-dollar free agents. I thought we might hear more about trades than we have. The Twins might soon spend a lot of money for two or three years on a guy who is already 35 years old. They could also give two years to a 40 year old one-dimensional player. I’m sure those moves will make a lot of fans happy. Maybe I’m strange. I figure there are six or seven weeks until pitchers and catchers report, so I still hold out that the team will add an impact player, the type of player who can make a difference without breaking the bank. But I don’t know that the team is better. I also don’t know what the Twins plans are, or their contingency plans are (if Pavano and/or Thome were to sign elsewhere). No one does because the Twins front office is great at not letting information leak We can’t all be Jim Breen!

Finally, Twins fans need to remember one important thing… at least the Twins and their stability is a lot better than following the Vikings and their chaos this year!

MORE TO READ TODAY:

Here are a few more articles for you to peruse throughout the day:

·         JJ Stankevitz has been a frequent guest of the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. He does a great job as the blogger for the White Sox site on Examiner.com. He is also a student at the University of Missouri where he writes for KBIA Sports Extra as well. He recently had the opportunity to meet fellow Missouri student/alumni and current Twins prospect Kyle Gibson. The results were a terrific article on Gibson.

·         Parker from Over the Baggy posted an article on the blueprint for a bullpen.

·         Needless to say, Fanatic Jack is Dazed and Confused about what is going on with the Twins offseason. It is really hard to disagree with him.

·         Twinkie Town has now completed its Top Ten Twins Prospects and you can now vote for Twins Prospect #11. Roger Dehring is going a great job of running the polls, and the discussion is terrific for anyone interested in Twins prospects.

Be sure to tune in to tonight’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast, live at 9:00.

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29 Responses to “Still Building from Within”

  1. Jack Steal December 21, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    Seth,

    Another terrific, positive post. We need Twins bloggers like you to keep the rest of at ease during this stressful time. I am not very patient or happy with the moves the team has made and it’s to the point of confusion now. They have stuck are their eggs in one basket on Pavano and Thome coming back. I have no idea what their plan is if that does not happen. Any ideas!!

    By the way Jim Hoey is a RH relief pitcher not a lefty like you mentioned.

  2. Andrew December 21, 2010 at 1:06 am #

    Hey Seth, you listed Hoey as a lefty instead of a righty.

    You hinted at this, but one important thing to remember about Burnett was that he was excellent through the first 2 months or so of the season, but then hit a wall. Part of this was that he just stopped striking out hitters (i.e. became more hittable). Perhaps he can work on that and put up a season in 2011 that resembles his April and May instead of the remainder of the season.

  3. writingfordigital December 21, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    On Slama, Delany and Neshek.

    Slama and Delaney have put up good numbers in the minors, but I wonder if that success will translate. What I see (and what scouts tell us) is they’re nibblers. That works in the minors, when hitters are over aggressive. But major league hitters will wait them out until they come in with their marginal stuff. When they do, they’ll get hit hard. To say the least, they’re both huge question marks until they can prove that they can get major league hitters out.

    Neshek is just a special case. He puts so much stress on the elbow, it’s hard to say he’ll ever return to the pitcher he was, or even a reasonable facsimile. I hope he does, But we sure can’t count on it.

    All that said, I think we’ll have enough arms. It’s just some of them will fail and be replaced by others, until we have 7 guys Gardy and Andy can count on. That churn will be painful, and might cost us the division.

  4. Seth December 21, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    Writing – Of course we don’t know how they’ll do in the big leagues, but pitchers with the best tools and biggest arms dont’ always make it either. I can hear the argument with Delaney since his ERA has been in the mid-4s at AAA where there are a lot of veteran hitters, but Slama has dominated in AAA too. Veteran relievers will lose games too. That’s not just a rookie thing.

  5. down on the farm December 21, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    the darkhorse of all these guys is Manship. For years I have hears some people say his stuff is better suited for the bullpen. He has a unique delivery…some movement on his fastball and a nasty curveball. Just enough to get by “one time through the order”.

    Use him as we used Guerrier..and his stuff matches up very well.

  6. Keli December 21, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Great posts, Digital and Down. I was thinking these same thoughts.

    In his limited MLB exposure, hitters facing Slama (likely for the first time) only chased 12% of pitches outside the zone (Manship=32%, Mijares=27%). I know it is a small sample size, but if that was his reputation in the minors explain to me how he is going to implement this change against MLB hitters. At the very least, it seems that he would have to ‘show them’ at AAA first.

    Manship had an ERA of 2.92 until the last week of the season, where he got mauled in a two of those blowout game (but, admittedly, he picked up the L in a third game). I understand that this was only 25 innings (29 total), but I think he will be solid in the long relief role this year.

    Finally, I understand that everyone wants to have the bullpen we finished the year with, since it contained three big league closers, a top bp inning guy, the leagues hottest reliever and Mirjares! But there is no way we are going to START a season like that. Gardenhier and Anderson have shown time and time again that they know how to build and use a bullpen. We may not like the ‘everyone has their roles’ mantra, but it has been universally lauded by the players.

    Also, signing Pavano would not only reduce stress (innings) on the bullpen, but would also free up Duensing for a major role in the bullpen. This would leave the current bp as:

    Closer: Nathan
    8th inning: Capps and Mijares
    RH specialist: Hoey
    LH specialist: Diamond
    RH long relief: Manship
    LH long relief: Duensing

    The obvious white elephant is Nathan, but there are still a lot of solid FA options available. For example, if we slot Seth’s choices of Veras and Okajima in for Hoey and Diamond, that would be a good group, and does not contain a single rookie. Add to that we have sufficient payroll flexibility to supplement an area of need at the trading deadlines(s) and Guttierez will be up by August, and things are not so bad.

    The litmus test on your feelings should be this… the Twins could sign John Rauch today for ~$3 million/yr for two years. Would this make you happy?

  7. Seth December 21, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Good responses.

    My blog post was not to say that slama or any of those guys will get the job done. No one knows that. I’ve never ranked Slama in my top 20 twins prospects because I’ve read and heard the same things. I would argue that at 27 years old, and with his numbers, he’s earned an opportunity.

    I would also say that Duensing did a ton last year to earn an opportunity to start this year.

    Who starts in the bullpen and ends the season in the bullpen doesn’t have to be the same thing.

  8. Doug December 21, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    Good post Seth – when I sometimes read comments from Twins fans on various blogs or stories I want to stand up and pull a Kevin Bacon and say “Remain calm – all is well!” Since I live in Nebraska, I hear similar reactions to the Husker football team (Why did you run? You should have passed it! Why did you pass it – you should have called for a run!!!).

    Regardless, while I like Crain and Guerrier, I do not like them enough to commit those years and dollars to them, and if I remember right they were once untested players that stepped up. I would anticipate the Twins will grab one or two relievers at a discount in the next month and combine them with the guys you mentioned – which I think will work. The biggest thing for me is Nathan – if he comes back in a good way that will be an incredible bonus and make the rest of the bullpen that much better. I would even think that if he looks strong in June that you could consider trading Capps to a team that is in need of a closer.

  9. Jarod December 21, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    I get your point that the pitchers on the Twins roster have been successful in the past and we have no reason to automatically think thy cannot attain that past level of success (“As bad as portions of their 2010 seasons were, none of this is unrealistic. They have done it before.”).

    However, if you’re going to make that argument for our current pitching staff you probably shouldn’t make the same argument against Pavano.(What are the odds that he could post a 3.75 ERA again or throw another 221 innings in a season? Not terribly good”).

    You have a valid point in that we don’t know exactly what we’ll get from Twins pitchers, with or without Pavano, in 2011 but I contend we should be basing our expectations on the more recent past.

    Until Pavano has another injury we can only assume he’ll continue his 4ish ERA and a ton of innings since that is what he’s done since he’s been healthy, when the script changes we can change our expectations.

    The fear of injury should not be a concern of the fans and our expectations for FY 2011, it should be the concern of the front office when deciding how much money to give to a potential injury risk.

    I could go on but I already feel like I care a little too much.

  10. mike wants wins December 21, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    It’s funny, because you just wrote an entire post saying the Twins should do things differently than they have been. They don’t generally build their bullpen from within, but go get guys from the outside. They don’t generally take failed starters and make them relievers. Some fans have been saying that they should do this all along, and spend less money on the bullpen, and more money elsewhere. I hope the Twins agree with your ideas, and put less money in the pen, and more elsewhere.

    As for Nishi and Casilla, I find the comments odd that they’ll be “just fine” on offense. You can take a step back at a position, but when you start taking them back at multiple positions, it adds up. I’m not saying that is what is happening, but I am saying that people need to look at the decisions as a whole, not several independent decisions.

    Let’s hope they aren’t done (and by that, I don’t mean, let’s hope they go out and spend millions on teh bullpen).

    • TT December 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

      “They don’t generally build their bullpen from within, but go get guys from the outside. ”

      Not to start the season they don’t and when they do its usually a relatively cheap veteran, like Condrey last year, or minor league free agents. I think the last major acquisition for the bullpen during the off-season was Nathan. Guerrier was initially picked up on waivers in the fall, Crain was internal, Mijares was internal, Neshek was internal, Duensing was internal … Going back even further you can add Rincon, Hawkins and Guardado to that list. Those three all fit the description of failed starter.

      • mike wants wins December 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

        My memory must have been off….I was just thinking of the players they didn’t call up the last couple of years…and the players they acquired in the last 18 months.

  11. JimCrikket December 21, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    Seth, I think the issue is that, while all of the pitchers you mentioned (and perhaps some you didn’t) COULD perform well for the Twins, there’s just such a low degree of certainty that it leaves many of us uneasy (or worse).

    I’d like to have many of those FA bullpen arms back… but not at the absurd money that some teams are throwing at them. Who knows… maybe Rauch and Fuentes will find the teams willing to spend crazy money have finished their shopping and fall back in to the Twins’ lap. But if not, that’s OK.

    The challenge is to minimize the amount of time it takes the organization to actually figure out which pitchers are able to get the job done. We all KNOW at least one of the rotation arms will come out flat… we just don’t know which one(s) yet. Same with the bullpen.

    Unfortunately, the difference between an 80-win season and a 90-win season may well come down to how ‘right’ the coaching staff is about their evaluations in Ft Myers. Sorting out who has (and who doesn’t appear to have) the physical and mental “stuff” to actually do the job is what Spring Training is all about. If mistakes are made in April and it turns out to be June before they find out the pitchers they chose in ST were the wrong guys, it may well be too late to fix things.

    • mike wants wins December 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

      Jim, great post. Unfortunately, the Twins are (imo) very conservative, and won’t make “rasH” changes early in the year. And, I agree, that could lead to problems.

      • Seth December 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

        that’s right, making Rash decisions does typically lead to problems. That’s why I think it’s wise not to do that!

    • TT December 21, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

      “If mistakes are made in April and it turns out to be June before they find out the pitchers they chose in ST were the wrong guys, it may well be too late to fix things.”

      I think that is doubtful. Remember, every team has the same problem. So unless one of the other central teams gets lucky and avoids any failures, everyone is going to lose a few games while they sort things out.

      Pavano is a good example of how fixing things before the season could hurt the Twins. If they sign him, he is going to have a very long leash regardless of how he performs. They aren’t going to call up Gibson to replace him because he struggles in April and May. We have seen that happen with third base a couple times. Its a lot easier to pick the best of six potential answers than it is to abandon an answer you have already committed to.

      • mike wants wins December 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

        That second paragraph might be the thing I agree with most that I’ve ever seen you post. It was a much more elegant statement than I managed to make on the same point…..

  12. DB December 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    As much as I’d like to see Crain & Guerrier back in our pen, I don’t think either of them is worth the money they got. Crain was quoted as saying that the Twins didn’t want to spend more than $3.5 mil/year on their bullpen. I’m glad to hear it. We’re already overpaying Capps & Nathan.

    In my opinion, the best way to improve your pen, is to improve your starting depth. for that reason, I like the idea of getting Pavano back. Even when he has a bad start he usually pitches into the 6th or 7th inning. That is a huge help to the pen over the course of a full season. I think your right on, Seth, when you say we need Baker, Blackburn, Slowey to pitch more innings also.

    The question I have, is if we happen to get Pavano, and/or if Gibson is too good to leave in Rochester, who is the odd man/men out? Which of our starters may be better out of the pen compared to the rotation?

    • Seth December 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

      Whichever is pitching worst at that time. I also think that Blackburn profiles like a solid reliever, at least in my mind. He throws fairly hard, has that good cutter and sinker. I think that would play well in the ‘pen.

      • mike wants wins December 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

        If they “have 6 starters”, they really have two options:

        1. Trade whichever starter not named Liriano/Pavano for the best return. I’d like to see Blackie and Kubel combined with a prospect to get a great player in return….but that seems unlikely.

        2. Move one of them to the pen. Hopefully they move the worst pitcher, as you want your best pitchers pitching more (i.e., starting).

  13. JA December 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Seth, Great work again. The Twins F.O. seems to do just fine evaluating talent, and I am sure they will do alright with the 2011 BP. Also, we have not seen the best of Kevin Slowey, look for a very good year.

  14. gobbledy December 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    new stadium, full every game the income will never be higher and we’re going into the season wishing and hoping. still bad outfield d. the entire infield a big ?. will morneau be the same or even play, which valencia will we get the early one or the late one? from one of the best bullpens to a bunch of maybes. starters, even with pav who knows what you get. needing speed so maybe bring back thome? probably bring back punto?? yes maybe ok in the central but a lot of questions to be answered for us to be a serious playoff team, imo.

  15. R Hobbs December 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Super post Seth. If they sign Pavano that means one (Blackburn) or more of last year’s starters ( dependent upon Gibson) will be available to the pen. I think they will wait on that development and then proceed. While this is unsettling, I find the SS situation to be dicier still. I simply don’t understand the Hardy move. Sadly, 6 million or so is what pedestrian shortstops make now. There is no evidence that Casilla can play every day at this level.

    • JimCrikket December 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

      Unfortunately, there’s also no evidence that Hardy could “play every day”. I would have liked to keep Hardy, but I just don’t see the middle infield as likely to be nearly as big a deal as pitching when it comes to determining this team’s success vs failure.

  16. Steve H December 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    DON”T FORGET SCOTT DIAMOND !!!!

    IMO we should HAND him the #7 spot in the bullpen RIGHT NOW

    he is at worst equal to or slighlty better than Glen Perkins while having a similar profile.

    • mike wants wins December 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

      That makes sense.

  17. mike wants wins December 22, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I hope the Twins sign Jeff Francis instead of Pavano, package Kubel and Slowey for some high priced, in his prime OFer, and use their money that way instead…..

  18. j-sin December 22, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Seth, I have something for you to ponder for a possible future post. I posed a similar question on Fanatic Jack’s blog, but I want to see if you have thoughts on it.

    Let’s do some quick easy math based on Bill Smith’s statement that the payroll for players has been about 50% of the operating budget for both pre-Target Field, and current.

    The payroll average over the last 2-3 years in the metrodome was, let’s say $70mil, which would leave the operating budget at $140mil.

    The player payroll last year and projected this year averages to around $105mil, leaving an operating budget around $210.

    This all assumes that the other expenses is equal to the player’s payroll in both venues, otherwise, the owners are pocketing about $35 mil (105mil-70mil) How do you think the other expenses have changed from the Metrodome to Target Field to account for the difference?

  19. Mark December 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    I think the Twins made a mistake in not signing either Crain or Guerrier. Even at $3.5 million per year that gives them short reliever “coverage” for 70 games, almost half the season.

    The Twins should keep Matt Capps as their closer no matter what Nathan’s health is. If Nathan can pitch, they should move him to the setup role. In this way, they can control his pitch counts and rest days. As a closer they will not be able to do that.

    The third member of the bullpen is Mijares. So, with Capps, Mijares, and Crain or Guerrier the bullpen is set. Add in a Joe Nathan as a set up man then the bullpen is good to very good.

    Then you can use Slama and the other younger pitchers to see who is capable and ready to pitch in the majors.

    But, now they have a major hole in the setup rotation and the unanswered questions about Nathan’s arm.

    Not a good start to the season.

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